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21 Core Company Values to Consider for Your Business (With Examples)

Your company’s core values define its identity, how important decisions are made and what drives it toward success. The best company values are carefully considered and then refined until they meet the company’s overall driving factors, expectations and culture.

They can improve not only customer satisfaction, your employer brand and your bottom line but also the satisfaction and motivation of each employee.

Adopting core business values gives your employees a purpose and can contribute to creating a successful and long-lasting business. This guide will help you understand the role of company values in an organization and how you can define your company’s core values.

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What are company’s core values?

The most commonly used core values definition is the internal beliefs, ethics and guiding morals upon which a business bases its objectives and business practices. These company core values guide business owners and employees in making important decisions that determine the organization’s success.

For example, company values can help determine how employees communicate with each other, how your business treats customers and who you hire. Keep in mind that there are no right or wrong company core values. Instead, it’s more important that your corporation’s core values align with the way your organization acts.

A few examples of company core values include:

  1. Accountability
  2. Boldness
  3. Collaboration
  4. Continuous improvement
  5. Curiosity
  6. Customer commitment
  7. Diversity
  8. Honesty
  9. Humility
  10. Inclusion
  11. Innovation
  12. Integrity
  13. Making a difference
  14. Passion
  15. Persistence
  16. Self-improvement
  17. Sustainability
  18. Teamwork
  19. Transparency
  20. Trust
  21. Vulnerability

Why are company core values important?

Core business values can help you make important business decisions about hiring, training, short and long-term strategy, and leadership techniques. They can also shape employee behaviors and your company culture and impact both external and internal business practices. Having defined company core values can also guide hiring managers in choosing employees that best align with your company’s culture, goals and mission.

An employee who works for a company whose values align with their own and agrees with their corporation’s core values is also more likely to be satisfied with their role. According to an Indeed survey of 10,000 job seekers, 28% said that if a company’s mission doesn’t resonate with their personal values, they might reconsider accepting an offer from that company — even if the job meets all of their personal requirements and they have a positive interview experience.

Additionally, current and potential customers and clients often evaluate many things when considering whether or not to do business with a company, including their values and how well they demonstrate them. When a customer’s values align with your company’s, they’re typically more likely to continue doing business with you.

How to define your company’s core values

Coming up with your company’s core values can feel like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Use these tips to define your company values when you’re unsure of where to start.

1. Consider why you started your business

Start by considering the driving factors and motivators that led you into business. Perhaps you wanted to assist other business owners or you wanted to fill a consumer need with a product or service. These motivators can serve as the foundation of your company’s core values.

For example, if your goal is to always be honest with customers, integrity could be one of your company’s core values. If you offer sustainable and environmentally friendly products, you might include a dedication to eco-friendly practices as one of your corporation’s core values.

2. List your personal values

It’s also important to be authentic when creating your company values. While you want to choose values that make sense in your industry, you also want them to align with your own personal values. Customers and employees can easily tell if a company truly lives by its values or if its values are insincere.

It can be useful to come up with a list of your own personal values and then consider how they contribute to your idea of business success. For example, ask yourself:

  • What values do you want to be known for in your industry?
  • What values do you relate to in the companies you admire?
  • How do you make important decisions in your personal life?

Asking these questions can help you come up with a list of your most important personal values.

3. Determine what values your customers expect

Another important part of connecting your personal values to your company’s core values is understanding the expectations of your ideal customer. Consider what values are the norm in your industry to give you some ideas for your own. Since each business is unique, however, your values should also be unique. What makes your business stand out from the rest? Why do customers buy from you in particular? Determine your unique selling proposition (USP)to help you come up with unique values.

It can also be helpful to imagine your ideal customer and determine what their values are. For example, if you want to attract customers within a certain age group, think about some of the common values they hold.

4. Ask employees what their personal values are

Consider what values your employees have. Try sending out a survey or holding focus groups to narrow in on what your employees think is important. After all, it’s much easier to live by your company’s core values when employees truly identify with them.

It can also be helpful to think about what values you look for when hiring employees. For instance, you might look for values like integrity, honesty, compassion or passion. Other business owners might value employees who are positive, dependable, motivated or confident. By first imagining your ideal employees and what they’re like, you can get a better idea of which company core values are the most important to you.

5. Imagine the values of your ideal team

Because many companies rely on teams to meet company goals, it can also be useful to consider your ideal team. Think about what actions you prefer your team members to take, and consider which values are important in a larger team setting. Important team values might include things like organization, communication leadership or collaboration.

6. Make your values actionable

The true test of your proposed company core values is for each one to be actionable. Instead of being just theories, ideas or buzzwords that look good on paper, your corporation’s core values should reflect what your company does on a day-to-day basis. That’s why after you’ve created a list of values that align with your company goals, you should consider how each one can be actionable. Look for specific ways that you, individual employees, teams and the organization as a whole can demonstrate these values.

Examples of company core values

Seeing examples of other corporation’s core values can help you come up with your own. Notice how each company has chosen values that reflect its company culture, mission and goals. Some examples from bigger companies include:

American Express:

  • We back our customers.
  • We win as a team.
  • We embrace diversity.
  • We make it great.
  • We support our communities.
  • We do what’s right.
  • We respect people.
  • We stand for inclusion.

Atlassian:

  • Open company, no BS.
  • Build with heart and balance.
  • Don’t #@!% the customer.
  • Play, as a team.
  • Be the change you seek.

Facebook:

  • Focus on impact.
  • Move fast.
  • Be bold.
  • Be open.
  • Build social value.

Slack:

  • Empathy
  • Courtesy
  • Thriving
  • Craftsmanship
  • Playfulness
  • Solidarity

Whole Foods:

  • We sell the highest quality natural and organic foods.
  • We satisfy and delight our customers.
  • We promote team member growth and happiness.
  • We practice win-win partnerships with our suppliers.
  • We create profits and prosperity.
  • We care about our community and the environment.

While creating company core values isn’t required, it does help your business stay in touch with its roots and align with the goals you set for the future. Use this primer to create your own corporation core values or improve upon the ones you have currently.

Company core values FAQs

How many core values should a company have?

Since company core values should be easy to remember, clear, meaningful and actionable, it’s a good idea to choose five to 10 that best represent your business ethos. Some companies even find success by adopting only three strong corporation core values that stand out and say it all. Overall, it’s important to choose core values that you can truly live by, and picking fewer than 10 can help ensure that’s possible.

What format should I use for my company’s core values?

Company core values are often phrases, single sentences or words organized into a bulleted list. Some companies expand upon their corporation’s core values by describing them in more detail on their company’s career page or website. That said, keeping your values short and simple makes them easier to remember and live out in everyday work life.

How often should company values be updated?

As your business grows and evolves, you may find that your company’s core values no longer reflect your goals, mission or vision. Consider reexamining your company values when big changes happen at your company, such as when you hire more team members, expand your product line or move into different markets. You might also re-evaluate your corporation’s core values every few years to make sure they still match your company culture, motivate employees to do their best work and foster strong customer relationships.

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